Baked baby aubergines

Baked baby aubergines

Reza’s Indian Spice
4-6 as a side dish

My mother made the most amazing baked aubergines and I have tried to recreate this dish of my childhood. The sweetness of the lime solution works beautifully, but you must make sure that the sugar completely dissolves in the lime. The stuffing can be made a day or two before, and the dish assembled and baked on the day. All the juices are absorbed by the aubergines and it will play havoc with your tastebuds... in a lovely way, of course.


Quantity Ingredient
12 baby aubergines
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
4-6 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
6-8 onions, thinly sliced
10 cloves
2 x 5cm cinnamon sticks
2 black cardamom pods
6-8 green cardamom pods
1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3 teaspoons chilli powder
5cm piece of root ginger, grated
60g caster sugar
2-3 limes, juiced
generous handful finely chopped mint leaves
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Make two deep slits in each aubergine, forming a cross from the base towards the stalk end, but leaving the quarters attached at the stalk to hold the aubergines together. Rub the aubergines with some salt and the turmeric. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the ghee or oil in a wok or a large, deep frying pan and fry the onions to a golden brown. Remove and drain on kitchen paper, reserving the ghee or oil.
  4. In a coffee or spice grinder, grind together half the cloves, and the cinnamon sticks, black and green cardamom pods and peppercorns to a fine powder. Add the allspice and mix well. Set aside.
  5. When the onions are cool and crispy, process two-thirds of them to a paste in a food processor, remove and put into a bowl. Reserve the other third. To the onion paste, add 2 tsp of the chilli powder, the ginger and the ground spices and combine well. Stuff the aubergines with the onion paste mixture and place in a baking dish.
  6. Heat the reserved ghee or oil in a pan and add the remaining whole cloves. Once they darken, remove and discard the cloves and pour the flavoured ghee over the aubergines. Cover with foil and bake in the oven until fully tender; it should take 40–45 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, mix the sugar, lime juice and remaining chilli powder in a small saucepan, heating gently until the sugar dissolves, forming a syrupy solution. Drizzle over the aubergines, then return to the oven for a further five minutes. Drain off any excess ghee or oil and sprinkle with the reserved onions, chopped mint and sesame seeds.
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